Lake Tahoe bear breaks into 50 homes, yet to be caught

Posted By: The Ski Channel on December 3, 2009 7:15 am

Officials from California and Nevada are teaming up to catch a bear that has been terrorizing residents of a North Lake Tahoe community for the last three years. In that time, the bear has broken into between 40 and 50 garages, and this year alone has caused more than $70,000 worth of damage. Does it have a death wish?

A newer type of bear trap will be used to try and confuse the bear who has eluded traps and rangers and survived a pair of .44 caliber gunshots from a homeowner. “We have an (agreement) with Cal Fish and Game to assist each other … so we’re going to set up one of their traps over here and see if that works,” said Carl Lackey, Nevada Department of Wildlife biologist. “Who knows if it will, but it looks different, it’s a different color — it’s worth a shot.”

“Carl and (NDOW) have helped us out a lot the past few years with our aversion and bear awareness tactics,” said Jason Holley, a CFG wildife biologist. “Normally, we don’t use these types of traps to catch bears, but we want to help. Considering the severity of the situation, and that it has been proven to cause significant damage, it’s a big deal — a big, injured bear hanging around people is pretty dangerous. The problem is this bear is very smart — he has developed what we call trap shyness,” Holley said. “They’re used to the look of it and know it’s bad news for them.”

Will the bear actually have to die? Adds Carl Lackey: “Our policy always has been is if they’re breaking into homes and garages, they are a public safety issue and they will be euthanized.”